tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC July 11, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT
joining us. have a great week ahead.y win, while the vast middle of the country, the middle that decides elections, see the president as the grownup? take a look at poll numbers. in his 2008 win, president obama was the choice of 60% of self-described moderates in the exit polls. today he still has 55% of those moderates. what do moderates favor? when it comes to the national debt ceiling, 55% of moderates say raise it. bob, we have two big news
stories facing us. the unemployment rate going up to 9.2%. the united states facing a debt crisis. maybe not reaching the debt ceiling bill by the end of this month. the republicans are using the jobless figures to say no taxes whatsoever. they're also saying no deal. have they misread the american public? >> this is a moment when obama has to deliver. there's no question. on the economic front, if there is a default, we face a catastrophe. the talk -- one of the plans being discussed, which is the c.e.o. told me being discussed in the white house is they got that. i mean, the theme is postponement. the republicans in a sense are right. you can't raise taxes when the economy is so slow. the democrats are right. you can't cut spending when the economy is in this condition. so what do you do? postpone. what they say is, instead of a 12-year plan, maybe even a
15-year plan, and the key word here -- you'll love this -- feathering in. you feather in the pain so there actually are no real cuts, no revenue enhancements, as they call them, in the first two or three years. so it gets obama through the election. milliliter gets the republicans through. obama, in his wonderful way, can dress it up as bold. >> this is a leadership challenge not just for president obama, although clearly he is the man in charge, but also for the speaker. it's clear that the speaker wants a deal, and also for nancy pelosi, and that's where there's real rebellion. the president's base, the democrats feel unlove. the house democrats feel that the senate and the house republicans are really in charge of this, which they are, with the white house and nobody is listening to them. chris: what's your read on the democrats? can the president hold them -- can he hold enough of them through the deal to make a deal?
>> a lot depends on the democratic base. they keep saying remember roosevelt, how he stood up to wall street, stood up to the big republican interests. they want to see more of that fight from obama, which is why he gave that recent feisty news conference. chris: how about airplanes, jet planes and hedge fund people. >> exactly. but there is a lot of theatrics going on here on both sides. and this is washington, the home of park inson's law, that work expands in the amount of time available for its completion. they're both playing out the clock as much as they can. but because they're down to core issues now, doesn't leave much wiggle room except for what obama was calling feathering, what we used to call smoke and mirrors. chris: feathering is when -- >> it's all smoke and mirrors. chris: let's challenge this. you're using the words, clarence, like theatrics and smoke and mirrors. let me bring in the new person
here. jamie, you covered this. it seems to me that somebody's got to say, the closer we get to august, the closer this country gets to greece, where the world is watching us. is this a grownup country anymore? are we a country the world looks up to or begins to look down to? >> well, coming out of the international perspective i can definitely see the way that we here in washington look at the rest of the world, the issues with iceland, greece and portugal, spain, there is that idea of why can't they get their act together and there's definitely a point of view from the other side that people are looking at washington thinking, my goodness, there is this protracted argument and tit for tat and it seems quite childish when you're on the other side of it. chris: the sense of this catastrophe, i don't think it's arguable that this is real. is it? >> totally real. and if you talk to the economists on both sides or the really experienced people, you get a spike in interest rates, which would be a calamity to the federal budget, because it would cost hundreds of billions of
dollars more just to pay the interest. but on your question about grownup, i'm not sure the united states has been looked at as the grownup nation for a long time. i think there's a lot of negativity out there. you travel around the world a little bit and there's not even tough love for the united states. >> look how tough wall street has been. there's a sense on wall street that there is a lot of theatrics going on here but that united states is not going to default. certainly if we did default, the long range repercussions would be tremendous as well as short range. if you default once, you could possibly default again. >> i agree. if this were like prior budget votes where you have to go down one speck in the 1990's before you get it through, that's when you would see the real reaction, because that's when people would not want to be buying our debt.
chris: would you want a situation in the world where when august 2nd comes and goes, they fail to pass it in the house and fail to get action in the senate much the president is dithering. they're meeting until 4:00 in the morning sunday mornings and nothing is happening. we go through august 15. isn't that the worst situation when we finally get short-term deals struck? >> it's not about the world laughing at us, it's the financial markets will react in a way -- i've heard a scenario from informed people that all of the bad stuff could happen in a week. and all of a sudden things would look great on monday and by friday afternoon interest rates would be up, the market would be in a swoon that we haven't seen for a long time. businesses would retrench, start not hiring people, but firing people. >> look at what happened after lehmann, what happened after long-term capital. look at past crises. it all happened almost instantaneously.
>> it's deal or no deal. i think that's likely to happen. chris: 12 of our regulars, including andrea and clarence, what's the smarter political move for republican leaders? settle with the white house soon and take the spending cuts that the president is proposing, or refuse to compromise and let a default actually happen. well, one says it's better politics to draw it out. andrea -- >> the president has the bully pulpit, and if this were to become a disaster, it would be the president going out in the east room or in the rose garden it would he being the grownup and it would be a calamity for the republicans. chris: let's get to the question of the unemployment rate. it's about 9.2% now. we thought it was going to go down. it went up. ragan was re-elected with 7.2%. is electable at this rate? >> sure, obama is electable. you know, he can win all of this and come out quite well. the basic issue is whether the
-- things are solid, obama and the republicans have to come out of conditions for the average family in america? and if they look at this and they say yeah, somebody's unemployed here, but basically this with people feeling, oh, the american economy is stable, and numbers are 9.2% or whatever the numbers are, are important. but the real overarching issue here is, do we have a stable economy? you used the word, do we have "grownup" leaders who are going to attack this. clarence, you're saying short-term fix. i think it will look like a short-term fix, but this feathering-in is real. and you can put all of this just like -- chris: let me ask you a question. does anybody win if we have this catastrophe we're talking about? does eric cantor or the tea
party or the red hots, does anybody win if we have a real catastrophe? >> i don't think anyone wins. because i think that the catastrophe is so apocalyptic that nobody is a winner here and everyone looks as though they are failures. i do think, to bob's point, that if people perceive that things are improving, it's how they feel the trend is going -- chris: do you think obama can get re-elected even with bad numbers? clarence? >> it depends on who is running against him. the current feel, obama still has greater credibility. the election is over a year away. somebody else could also get in. chris: before we break, there's one major republican candidate who actually will cast a vote on the debt ceiling fight. u.s. congresswoman michele bachmann who's had a great launch the last few weeks. will have to leave the campaign trail soon and do what few enjoy doing, casting a decisive vote. in the last month, bachmann's gotten high marks from political watchers for sounding serious, for abandoning some of the fringe talk that she was known for. it's called being
disciplined. she wasn't always this way. her most notorious walk on the wild side was this hardball appearance back in 2008. >> you believe that barack obama may -- you're suspicious because of this relationship may have anti-american views. otherwise it's probably irrelevant to this discussion. >> absolutely. absolutely. >> you think obama has anti-american views. >> absolutely. i'm very concerned that he may have anti-american views. what i would say is the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. i wish they would. i wish the american media would take a great view of congress and find out are they pro america or anti-america. chris: that sounded like joe mccarthy. there are other episodes of bachmann on the brink. john stewart took off on this one. >> i find it interesting that it was back in the 1970's with the swine flu breaking out then, under another democratic president, jimmy carter -- and i'm not blaming this on
president obama. i think it's an interesting coincidence. [laughter] >> it's a very interesting coincidence, considering the last flu outbreak came in 1976, not under carter, under republican gerald ford. but that's michele bachmann, are you crazy. she's not blaming democrats, she's just finding coincidences. like how pandemic is an anagram for don't panic. chris: when we come back we'll look at michele bachmann, the presidential candidate. will the new bachmann actually vote to let the country default as she's threatening to do? a tough choice for the tea party favorite wa member of congress. we'll have schools and -- scoops and predictions.
michele bachmann, unlike chief rival mitt romney is a current u.s. congresswoman. this is an advantage in some ways, but it also has possible down sides. as a u.s. congresswoman she will have to cast a vote on this debt ceiling fight, not just talk about it. she says she's going to vote dead no. are the republican voters with her on this? here she is telling sean hannity she's where the voters are, no matter what the party leaders say. >> so you have been finding yourself at odds with the republican leadership. this is not making you popular with some members of congress. >> well, maybe not necessarily. all i know is when i talk to people about it across the country, that's what they said that they sent us there to do. do we want to change the arc of history or just go along? i want to change the arc of history. i want the country to turn around. i want to see us get it back. we won't get it back if we're nibbling around the edge. we will get it back if we change
the arc of history. chris: andrea, i hear something there that's powerful. it's connecting the regular people, the base of the country, the regular people and their sense of conservative history, their conservative view of history. >> i think you're absolutely right. there's a new pugh poll that says people do not want to see their medicare, social security, i mean, not surprisingly, they don't want to see their benefits cut. they don't want to see tax increases. the majority of people in this country are not willing to do the things that john boehner is now prepared apparently to do, that the president wants us to do, that leadership arguably needs to do to get past this crisis. michele bachmann really has her finger on that pulse. she has put up a new ad in iowa, which says, i will not vote for a debt ceiling. chris: no matter what. >> even if it has all of the cuts that republicans want. she is taking it one step further and she is really in tune with the majority of the people, whether they understand the facts or not. chris: that's iowa. it's the religious right and she may be perfect pitch. will that sell across the
republican base in the country? can she compete for the nomination right to the end? >> i don't think so. she has all the vulnerabilities of barry goldwater with the nomination back in 1964, with social security and the rest. chris: but he won. >> he did, because at that time the moderates were weak. and they're weak now. that's her best shot, because it's a shrunken party from wait -- what it used to be. but because of recent events, a lot of the republican moderates, the david brooks types, are going to be the ones to stand up and call a halt or come after south carolina. chris: i wonder whether cerebral writers, bright people, are not really in tune with that base out there. >> that's right. and this could be a flash in the pan. and remember mike huckabee won the iowa primary in 2008. buchanan won the new mexico primary in -- the new hampshire primary in 1996.
so we'll just have to see. but i would go the conventional wisdom route on this. i think this all helps romney. there's lots of debate. there's lots of high throwing. -- pie-throwing. she probably won't go in the history books. but, again, you never know. chris: there's some spark there, i hear. she seems to have perfect pitch for some people. >> i think there's something interesting about the fact that she's so categorical about it. she's yes or no. and for a lot of back and forth that we've seen in washington, that must be very refreshing. >> chris: she's so crystal clear. i think there's a potential that there will be shifts in the republican party and she's at the center of the real republican heart, like mitt romney, who's seen as a moderate and that party is not run by moderates. >> the calendar is in her favor. if you look at iowa, to a certain extent new hampshire less so, but she's got that geography and calendar.
chris: when we come back, scoops and predictions. tell me something i don't and predictions. tell me somei want to crush more cars. ♪ i want to sell more tea cups. ♪ i need help selling bread. ♪ i want to sell more crabs. [ male announcer ] you know where you want to take your business. i want to design more buildings. [ male announcer ] in here, small business solutions from at&t can get you there. starting with the at&t all for less package -- just $70 per month, voice plus broadband. it's the at&t network. helping you do what you do... even better.
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chris: welcome back. bob, tell me something i don't know. >> national security, the afghan war where obama's promised a drawdown. as we know, the ticket out is training the afghan army. and there have been lots of improvements in the afghan army. there's a real problem. and this is the deep secret in all of this.
the recruiting of the majority is so low. it's in the single digits. so you cannot have a country that is majority pasch toon with an army that's really going to save you and preserve you and take the place of the united states and nato that is 7% or 8% --chris: not at the worst. >> anyone who knows this, and jamie knows this world so well, just says this is the ghost in the machine. chris: jamie? >> well, one of the departments in government that is not having the axe taken to it is the unit that is responsible for the killing of osama bin laden, the special forces command. they're currently searching for real estate in d.c. they're actually on a spending spree right now. chris: i guess winning wins. >> hillary clinton is now reaching out to the somali militants to help deliver badly
needed food aid to people in east africa because of a drought and horrendous famine. this weekend colin powell has taken a rare official trip with the u.n. ambassadors to celebrate the separation of south sudan from north sudan, a new country in africa. >> clarence page? >> the controversy over casey anthony, the verdict in that case has stirred up and entered that campaign and could pass caylee's law, a law which could illegalize failure to report a missing child within 24 hours. even lawyers who are legal experts who are anti-states rights people are saying that it would be hard to pass this and get that constitutional muster nationwide. that is probably going to be a state-by-state campaign, which i suspect is going to be quite successful. chris: when we come back, this week's big question.
your kids will each take care of our class hamsters, lewis & clark. then i'll tell them the story of pluto, the sad little planet that was. i'll introduce them to some new friends, the fractions, and some cold blooded ones, the dinosaurs. [sfx: dinosaur growl] clark! anyway, here's what they'll need: markers, scissors, crayons, pencils, folders, juice boxes,
pretzel sticks, glue sticks, tape that sticks, and glitter. so much glitter. school takes a lot. target has it all. chris: welcome back. take a look at this stunning poll information. in the exit polls on the day barack obama beat john mccain in 2008, 60% of voters who said they were pessimistic about the economic future voted for obama. compare that to the most recent nbc/"wall street journal" poll. only 16%, 1-6, who were very pessimistic about our economic future approve of the job barack obama is doing now. bob, is obama's cool nature going to work for him? >> he's going to have to become uncool and he's going to have to become the preacher, the passionate person, and convince people he's delivered better economic conditions for them. that's possible. hard, but not impossible. >> jamie, can he do it again?
>> i think if he stays steady and cool, that's going to be reassuring to people. chris: cool's better. >> i think so. >> he'll have to do better than he did in the rose garden reacting to the jobs report. he's going to have to give a better speech than that. chris: than friday. >> yeah. >> every campaign is about change versus more of the same. he ran as change last time. he's got to run this time as let's finish the job. the economy is recovering, but too sluggishly. chris: it could be the 1936 campaign where roosevelt raised it up as a fight between left and right, poor and rich. suppose he does that. he could go the other way and make another big change. thanks to a good roundtable. bob woodward, andrea mitchell, jamie tarabay and clarence page. that's the show. thanks for watching. see you back here n